Protecting your Privacy When Applying for a Home Mortgage

We are taught from an early age to protect our personal belongings.  We keep our bicycles locked and protected; we lock our diaries and take good care of our favorite toys.  As we age, the things we protect becomes more important as the items are likely more valuable.

When you are in the market for a new home you quickly discover that you must disclose a lot of sensitive and personal information.  Mortgage lenders request copies of your tax records, employment history, paystubs, your social security number, bank statements and more; many of the documents or items that you have worked hard to keep protected and secure are now being requested from a virtual stranger.

As consumers we are aware of the risks of identity theft and fraud, so sharing such personal information can seem scary.  Understandably, many may have questions about how their mortgage loan officer and how they protect this sensitive information.  It’s a legitimate question, and one that might give you pause as you’re gathering copies of your paycheck stubs and tax forms as you’re applying for a new mortgage.

It’s in both you’re best interest and your mortgage lenders to protect and keep your information secure; do not be afraid to ask your loan officer about their privacy policies and the policies of those they work with.

Here are some helpful tips to help you be more informed.


  1. Is your mortgage loan officer registered?

Because identity theft is such a large concern, numerous safeguards have been set up to protect consumers applying for a loan. Every mortgage loan officer, for instance, must be registered as either a federal mortgage loan originator or as a state-licensed mortgage originator. To qualify for this licensing, each candidate must pass an background check, maintain good credit and pass a licensing test.

Once an individual is registered as a mortgage loan officer, they must also comply with the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act. These regulations ensure consumers are safe from fraud and also require mortgage loan officers to comply with ethical guidelines and maintain a record of the loans they secure with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS).This ensures your information is safely handled by individuals who are continually trained and monitored by strict guidelines designed to protect you from fraud.

  1. Apply with legitimate, well-known lenders

Get a mortgage or other loan with lenders you know and trust. If you’re shopping online for a mortgage and stumble upon a bank you’ve never heard of, proceed with caution. This doesn’t mean the lender is fraudulent, but some thieves will set up fake websites to get your information. Look for the VeriSign logo or a padlock before applying for any loan online. Both symbols indicate a secured website. If you don’t see a security logo, don’t submit an application.

  1. Who will be given access to my information?

In general, a mortgage loan officer will share your information only with emoloyees who will approve and process your home loan.

The federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act says that financial institutions must notify consumers of how much or little of their financial information that they share with third parties.

Man protecting his digital identity.

  1. Sending personal information via email

Anytime you share personal data about yourself over the Internet, you put yourself at risk. This doesn’t mean you’re going to be a victim each time you apply for a loan online, but it’s important to understand ways to protect yourself—just in case.

Make sure when applying for a home loan, you ask to read your lender’s privacy and security policies.

If corresponding with a loan officer via email, there’s always a chance that your personal information will end up in the wrong hands. Misspelling an email address can result in delivering personal data to the wrong recipient. Also, some thieves know how to intercept bank emails.

Your mortgage loan officer should provide you with a secure online portal or use encryption software that protects your information online.

If an online portal is not available and you need to provide your loan officer with personal information, deliver the paperwork in-person or fax the documents directly to the bank. Notify the loan officer right before sending a fax so he can await its arrival.

  1. Apply for a mortgage over a secured network

If you prefer applying for a mortgage electronically, submit your application over a secured network. If you have Wi-Fi at home, make sure your personal network is password-protected, and never apply for a loan at work or in a public place. With public networks, anyone can hack into the system and steal your information.

  1. Don’t respond to suspicious emails from the bank

If you receive an email from the bank, but you don’t recognize the email address, call your loan officer to confirm the legitimacy of the email. Some identity thieves send thousands of random phishing emails in an attempt to gather personal information from others. Don’t open suspicious emails, and don’t respond with your personal information.

Even with concerns about security and sharing, don’t expect lenders to limit the amount of paperwork you’ll need to present during the mortgage process.

Your lender needs this personal information to verify your monthly income and debts, job status and your bill-paying history. Your lender’s job is to make sure that you can afford your monthly mortgage payments.

Keeping your personal information safe is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft. After submitting a loan application online, closely monitor your credit and bank accounts for the next several weeks or months. This way, if your information is stolen, you can detect the problem early on. If we can help with any home financing or answer any of your questions please call us today.

The Certo Team
55 N. Arizona Place
Suite #103
Chandler, AZ 85225

Contact a licensed housing specialist now! 602-429-6789